A journey through Sri Lanka covering the highlights of the cultural triangle visiting Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa along with Kandy before taking a beach stay at Bentota.
Highlights: Culture, history, wildlife, temple and beach
On arrival in Colombo: Having cleared immigration, collected your luggage and passed through customs, please make your way towards the exit of the terminal building where you will see a bank of people waiting for you. Amongst them will be Trail Blazer Tours Representative who will be waiting to greet you with a paging board with your name on.
You will then take you to your hotel in Kandalama (approx.. 4 hrs)
You will spend the day in Kandalama with an excursion to Sigiriya to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Sigiriya is an enormous rock boulder rising up 200 meters above the surrounding jungle. Incredibly, the rock fortress was built by King Kassyapa I in the fifth Century and served as a royal citadel for more than 18 years, something that seems more astonishing with every step you climb. Pause occasionally during your ascent to admire the mirror wall, the Sigiri graffiti, the famous Sigiriya frescoes (paintings) and the great lion paws. Upon reaching the summit you’ll immediately see that it was worth the effort.
Wander through the ruins and admire the courage and work it must have taken to build this palace all those years ago – you will even find a fully-functional swimming pool up there. Aside from the ruins, with the unparalleled 360-degree view of the surrounding jungle and hills, it will not be just be the climb that takes your breath away.
Later in the afternoon leave for Minneriya National Park to do a jeep safari into the park.
Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, which was built in the 3rd Century AD by King Mahasena, the plains and forests of this park are home to herds of elephants who come to graze and to bathe in the tank’s waters. Flocks of cormorants and painted storks, toque macaque and sambar deer may also be spotted. Depending on the movement of the elephants you may visit the nearby Kaudulla National Park or Eco Park instead.
After a relaxing breakfast drive towards Kandy (approx. 3 hrs) with a stop at the magnificent rock cut cave temples at Dambulla.
Dambulla Golden Cave Temple is a vast isolated rock mass of 500 feet high and a mile around the base. Here is found the famous Rock Temple dating to the First Century B.C. The caves of Dambulla sheltered King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. When he regained the throne, he built the most magnificent of Rock Temples to be found in the Island.
In the first Cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47ft long cut out of the Rock. There are images of deities associated with Buddhism all around. The frescoes on the walls and the ceiling are the oldest here but they are over painted in the Kandy period.
In the Second Cave, the finest and the largest of all, there are 150 life-size statues of the Buddha in various postures with few statues of Gods and Kings. The ceiling is also covered with frescoes, which depict great events in the life of the Buddha and landmarks in the history of the Sinhalese people.
Kandy is the hill capital is another “World Heritage Site”. It was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule and finally ceded to the British in 1815 after an agreement.
To the Buddhists of Sri Lanka and the World, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the “Dalada Maligawa” – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture.
Kandy temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic: When King Wimaladharmasuriya I (1592-1604 A.D.) became King in Kandy, he searched for the Tooth Relic and the bowl Relic of the Buddha and found that it was kept at the Delgomuwa. The King had gone there personally and brought the Sacred Tooth Relic to Kandy in a procession accompanied by the King. The first Temple of the Tooth Relic was constructed by Wimaladharmasooriya I to house it next to the Royal Palace. The last King of Kandy Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe added the Pattirippuwa or the Octagon and it was not a part of the Temple, but a resting place for the King. Later it was handed over to the Temple.
After a leisurely breakfast, leave for Bentota – famous beach town (approx. 4 ½ hrs)
You have the option to stop at the Pinnawela elephant orphanage enroute.
These days you will be at leisure by the beach
Leave Bentota for Colombo international airport to board the onward flight back home.